Tags: veterinarian | obamacare | vet costs | health care

Obamacare Could Lead To Increased Vet Costs, Veterinarian Warns

Wednesday, 13 Mar 2013 02:01 PM

By Michael Mullins

Image: Obamacare Could Lead To Increased Vet Costs, Veterinarian Warns
The nation's pet population could feel Obamacare's impact through increased veterinary costs.
Humans aren't the only ones who will be affected by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The nation's pet population could also feel Obamacare's impact through increased veterinary costs, one veterinarian says.

Miami veterinarian Mike Hatcher said the additional tax, which is directly related to Obamacare, will be on medical equipment and supplies for both humans and animals. The increased cost will likely be passed on to consumers, which could lead to fewer vet visits.

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Additionally, veterinarians might delay purchasing newer equipment to avoid the tax, which could affect the quality of care.

"I’m extremely concerned how this is going to be a hidden tax to our consumers that is going to be passed on," Hatcher told CBS Miami. "Putting off equipment purchases is something that can terribly affect our client's ability to have quality care."

The new federal tax is 2.3 percent, and will affect the cost of devices that have dual purposes, used for both people and pets, such as IV pumps, scalpels and anesthesia equipment.

The new tax is a trickle-down effect.

Equipment manufacturers are first taxed by the government, and then more than 50 percent of those manufacturers pass the costs along to veterinarian clients, a recent survey by CBS revealed. The veterinarians will then account for the higher expense by boosting prices for consumers.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), which represents 82,000 veterinarians in the United States, was unable to estimate exactly how much the new tax will cost its members without more information from the government, CBS News reported.

Mark Lutschaunig, the director of the Governmental Relations Division of the American Veterinary Medical Association, argued that through the new equipment tax, pet owners are now directly subsidizing human healthcare.

"Congress never intended for this tax to impact veterinarian medicine and unfortunately it has, and I think that’s very unfortunate that veterinarian medicine now is subsidizing human health care," Lutschaunig said.

Another concern and side-effect of higher vet costs is an increase in animal abandonment, as many Americans become less able to provide proper care for pets.

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